Back to School Montage: Finals Week

RespectI won’t lie to you, I don’t look good. As I write this my physical and mental conditions have deteriorated past what is considered acceptable of a bipedal mammal. Well, one that doesn’t groom a friend and then dine on the grub worm, anyway.

I am losing moments. I have ingested nothing green in the last two days, but I have green stains on my shirt. There’s a layer of coffee on my tongue that has sent the U.S. biological weapons department to DEFCON 3. I woke myself this morning by muttering sociolinguistics theories in my sleep. Evidently, Asleep Me knows more on the subject that Awake Me.

I am bad-tempered and I have enjoyed a sort of solitary confinement on trams by asking random people about U.S. foreign policy. Level of frantic misery – Robin Williams 1986 + Morrissey 1985.

For you see, it is finals week.

Last week, as I was doing my YouTube therapy (see previous blog. Don’t judge), I stumbled upon a few clips from Back to School. This is the film in which Rodney Dangerfield goes back to college as an old man. It’s filled with college students in 1986, donning big 1986 hairstyles, 1986 aviator sunglasses and lots and lots of bleached 1986 jeans. Kurt Vonnegut makes a cameo; he has big 1953 hair, but he is not wearing bleached jeans.

What I am dwelling on now is the film’s use of the montage. In Back to School, Rodney learns that he has three days to cram for his final exams and thus we are sent into the emotional roller coaster that is the three-minute montage as his compatriots help him cram. We see him at the library, chatting with Kurt Vonnegut, eating and studying and even studying in the shower with plastic-wrapped notes, all to an Oingo Boingo tune.

They always skip the hard part in movies, don’t they? People lose weight in montages, gain knowledge, become fluent in languages, become Daniel-San, wean themselves off of drugs and even fight an entire war (It’s a Wonderful Life). I am most impressed by the workout montage in Rocky IV, during which Rocky and his training crew all grow beards in Russia and Rocky runs up a hill with a log. Montages have a long tradition in film-making, but boy did they do it well in the 1980s.

I suppose the point is that actually living out a montage is not nearly as fun as in the movies and there is almost never a soundtrack. I have to shower now and I am seriously considering bringing my notes and a plastic bag. And where the hell is Kurt Vonnegut when you need him?

If you could skip something from real life and do it in a montage, what would it be?

PS: In a rare lucid moment, I was interviewed by the Prague Post about my book Senseless and this blog. If you’d care to check it out click the link below.


  1. #1 by Gabrielle Luongo on January 19, 2012 - 2:54 pm

    I would like to have a montage of me giving birth this June. Perhaps to “Lightening Crashes”, just kidding. Side note, I actually have to (midwife said so) make a sound track for the birth and need suggestions for songs.

    • #2 by Damien Galeone on January 20, 2012 - 10:18 am

      Would you like to extend the montage to being pregnant in your third trimester? I hear the roids are a bear! haha, just a bad joke. How about, I hear you knockin’ but you can’t come in or Get Her YaYas out? I’m thinking something ‘expelling’ themed…

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